A sensible exercise program and a healthy diet are essential in the maintenance of overall health for people with heart disease. But the types of physical activity performed and food items consumed must be carefully discussed with your cardiologist so as to ensure that, indeed, these are the best for your heart and body.
Exercise But Consider Your Condition
While there are a few types of heart diseases where exercise is strictly prohibited, cardiologists encourage their patients to engage in physical activity as part of their effective heart health management program. But the physical activity must be strictly monitored lest the heart condition worsens, or leads to heart attack or failure.
Here are tips about exercise that must be considered by people with heart conditions.
- Ask your doctor about the effect of your medications on your response to exercise and then make the appropriate adjustments, when necessary.
- Avoid heavy lifting, such as raking, shoveling and mowing, or scrubbing, as these can exert heavy pressure on your heart. Weight-lifting exercises and isometric exercises (e.g., push-ups and sit-ups) are likely off limits
- Ask your doctor about the safe cardiovascular exercises even when these involve brisk walking. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Strike a balance between physical activity and rest. High-intensity exercises are a big no-no.
- Avoid exercising in extreme conditions, such as too cold, too hot, or too humid.
- Always stay hydrated.
- Avoid extremely hot and cold showers as well as sauna baths since these can increase your heart’s workload.
- Ease into the exercise program on a gradual basis. Too much too soon can worsen your heart’s condition.
Just be careful about pushing your heart beyond its limits since it can spell health issues in the near future.
Eat But Be Mindful of Your Health
Of course, you must eat but you must adopt the best strategy – focus on what you can eat instead of paying attention to what you cannot eat. You should add heart-healthy foods while also cutting back on unhealthy foods.
Keep these diet strategies in mind:
- Eat more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
- Eat healthy fats like monounsaturated fat (e.g., peanut and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fat (e.g., soybean, corn, and sunflower oils). Avoid artificial trans-fats (i.e.,”partially hydrogenated” oils) and limit saturated fats (i.e., meat products).
- Eat a wide variety of protein-rich foods, such as lean meat and fish.
- Eat the right kinds of carbohydrates including brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. Avoid sugary and starchy foods.
- Limit cholesterol found in red meat and high-fat dairy products.
- Cut back on your sodium intake since too much salt can worsen hypertension. Substitute with herbs, condiments and spices for better flavor.
- Keep your serving sizes in check.
Most importantly, eat on a regular basis. You will be able to control your blood sugar, burn your excess fats, and regulate your cholesterol levels in a more effective manner.
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